International road race the Ulster Grand Prix is on track for August with last year's title sponsor the Belfast Telegraph set to once again back the event with a combined support package of cash, editorial and in-paper promotional support.
Belfast Telegraph Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week is set to take place this summer at the Dundrod circuit from August 11-16 with the main Race Day events scheduled for Saturday, August 16.
The event, which dates back to 1922 making it Ireland's oldest road race, is organised by the Dundrod & District Motor Cycle Club. It is currently in the process of signing up riders and aims to have a similar line-up to last year's rain-swept but exciting competition.
Organisers are hoping to welcome back event record holders John McGuinness, who last year set a lap record of 131.7 mph in the Dundrod 150 Superbike event, and Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson, who set the fastest ever UGP lap record in 2006 achieving 130.8 mph in the UGP Superbike Race.
However despite their records, Guy Martin went on to win both races. Indeed the 2007 Dundrod 150 Superbike Race achieved a top accolade by being voted 2007 Race of the Year by visitors to www.realroadracing.com.
Guests at the Press conference included racing stars such as Cameron Donald and local heroes Adrian Archibald and William Dunlop.
Clerk of course Noel Johnston said: "Once again Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week will feature an 11-race programme with five running on Thursday night's Dundrod 150 event, whilst Saturday's Race Day will profile six races culminating in the Belfast Telegraph Superbike Race.
"And of course we're hoping the weather will be kinder to us in 2008.
"The Dundrod Club is delighted to again welcome the Belfast Telegraph as the sponsor of this year's Ulster Grand Prix.
"The Telegraph's financial support is vital to maintaining and developing the event and we believe the paper's high profile will benefit the UGP in terms of additional spectators and competitors."
The 2008 event will be enhanced by the news earlier this year that the UGP 125cc race will have full Grand Prix status. The 250cc event will also be the final race in a newly introduced British Championship which will involve all international road races - the NW200, IoM TT and the UGP.
The Dundrod Club has also planned or already implemented a number of course improvements in preparation for the summer. The section from Flobog Crossroads to the start/finish area will be resurfaced, whilst the area through Jordan's Crossroads has been opened up with hedges and trees removed, resulting in improved safety for competitors and enhanced vantage points for spectators. Lisburn City Council will once again play a key role in managing the UGP.
Belfast Telegraph sports editor Steven Beacom said the company was very pleased to lend its support to one of Northern Ireland's top sporting events.
"A signature event in Northern Ireland's summer sporting calendar, the Ulster Grand Prix attracts thousands of visitors during Bike Week, and we believe that it's crucial that an event of this stature should be enhanced and developed," he said.
" We are delighted to continue to support the Ulster Grand Prix and aim to generate indepth coverage in the lead up to and during the UGP this August. We look forward to a safe and exciting event and to welcoming riders, teams and spectators from all over the world."
For details on Grandstands contact Tom Best Tel 077 5417 8187 and for race details contact Noel Johnston, Clerk of Course Tel 078 5051 8533 or Race Secretary Derek McWhirter Tel 078 1220 4382.